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Trucking’s ELD Mandate Part 1: The Who and the What

February 22, 2016 By: Jeff Swan, HNI Tags: Blogs, Regulations

By now, most everyone even marginally connected to the trucking industry has heard of the FMCSA’s new Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate.

And while some operations are probably way ahead of the curve in preparation for ELDs, others might still be wondering if it even applies to their business.

This two-part blog series — followed by a two-day HNI workshop in March — will address the basics and alleviate the concerns of anyone who is confused by the regulation.

The ELD mandate applies to motor carriers and drivers who are required to keep records of duty status (RODS) on paper or with an Automatic Onboard Recording Device (AOBRD) under the current hours of service (HOS) regulations. Drivers who use the timecard exceptions and don’t keep paper RODS will not be required to use ELDs.

Motor carriers include all businesses that currently use commercial vehicles “in commerce,” engaged in interstate transportation. The short answer is: If you have to log now you will need to consider an ELD in your future.

As with every regulation there are exceptions, but for ELDs the exceptions are limited. The following drivers may continue to use paper RODS:

  • Drivers who are required to keep paper RODS for no more than eight days during any 30-day period
  • Driveaway and towaway drivers (transporting a vehicle for sale, lease or repair), provided the vehicle driven is part of the shipment
  • Drivers of vehicles manufactured before model year 2000

Given those three exceptions, you will notice that small fleets, your existing vehicles (does not only apply to new vehicles), “small” CMVs (non-CDL vehicles), leased or rented vehicles and “non-trucking” entities are not given a pass. If you are strictly an intrastate carrier you will have to check with your home state to see if it adopts the regulation in its entirety. Wisconsin, for example, adopts the rule by inference but is now deciding how to apply ELDs for carriers.

Many of the answers will continue to be fleshed out over the next few years.

As for the “what” in this equation, the type of device you choose will also be mandated.

The FMCSA requires ELD manufacturers to certify and register their product. Each device has to meet certain specifications as set forth by the rule. The technical specifications are supposed to help manufacturers develop compliant, standardized ELDs that will allow for effective recordkeeping with appropriate access control.

The standards will support driver privacy and help prevent driver harassment as well as enable compliance certification and provide for resistance to tampering. They will also provide consistent ways for safety officials to access ELD driver data when needed.

What does all this mean to the ELD shopper? Basically, you will have to pick from a certified ELD vendor in order to be compliant. Approved devices are expected to be listed on the FMCSA website within days.

About the Author: Jeff Swan is HNI’s compliance specialist at HNI and a retired Wisconsin State patrolman. During his 34 years with the State Patrol, Jeff focused on helping truck fleets navigate complex regulations. At HNI, Jeff focuses bringing solutions to the table. To read more of his blogs, visit hni.com/blog/author/jeff-swan.

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